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EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis

Before our equipment was old. Now they have fitted railings in the building that have benefited the pupils very much. And us too, the two blind teachers at the institute.

Khaboor Mohammad Ali, from Duhok, has been a Braille teacher for the blind and the visually impaired at the Roonahy Institute since 2010. “We teach Braille in three different languages to our pupils: Arabic, English and Kurdish. We also teach mathematics,” she explains.

Children at the QUDRA-supported Roonahy Institute learn how to cope with their disabilities and to become independent. In the seventies and eighties, people with disabilities and their families were looked upon with pity and were treated with very little respect in Kurdistan. “But I see in recent years this has improved a great deal. They are now looking at them with respect. Disabled people, on the other hand, have to respect themselves first so that people will respect them in turn,” says Khaboor.

The Roonahy Institute’s approach is to see its students not as disabled people but as people with abilities. “Their dream is to improve themselves, just like me. They are developing themselves so they can achieve higher goals, even higher than mine. They can finish their university studies, they can pursue Master’s and PhD degrees. Some of our blind people have already reached these levels,” she adds with passion.

QUDRA is a Trust Fund supported regional initiative seeking to strengthen the resilience of Syrian refugees, IDPs and host communities in the context of the response to the Syrian and Iraqi crises. It is jointly implemented by GIZ, Expertise France, AECID and HIA in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.